Jewellery Hyperreal - How could jewellery be transferred into hyperreality?: Interview by Schmuck2 with Lisa Walker

Article  /  Artists   BehindTheScenes
Published: 17.07.2015
Jewellery Hyperreal - How could jewellery be transferred into hyperreality?: Interview by Schmuck2 with Lisa Walker.
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This interview is part of the Jewellery Hyperreal - How could jewellery be transferred into hyperreality? a publication by Schmuck2. Within a temporary laboratory at Künstlerhaus Lukas in Ahrenshoop (Germany) 2012, which focused on questions about the significance and the existence of a hyperreality hold for the concept of jewellery, the art Historian Dr. Anne Schloen and the artist Susan Pietzsch conducted a series of interviews which have been collected in this book. Here you could enjoy the talk with the new zealander artist.
Lisa Walker is a New Zealand-based artist/jeweller/designer mostly working in the area of contemporary jewellery. One issue of her work is a study into the differences between an acceptable notion of beauty or stereo-type, and some-thing else—the search for an aesthetic that we hardly ever see, but neverthe-less perhaps recognise. She is continually pushing towards the extreme, and recognises this is a method which enables her to expand her thinking and way of working. Walker works in a large range of materials and techniques and makes reactionary work, consciously active with influences from all walks of culture and life. The pieces are often laced with references to contemporary jewellery of the last forty years, questioning and researching what jewellery means, what it can be.

Schmuck2 (Question) In your work everything seems to become a piece of jewellery. Is there any limit? Or can anything become jewellery?
Lisa Walker (Answer) Yes, there are limits; I don’t use organic materials that can go mouldy or rot. Otherwise I would say nearly everything has the potential to become jewellery, if it makes sense and the material resonates with me in some way.

Q When does an object become a piece of jewellery for you?
A An object, once it is made or found, becomes a piece of jewellery when the time is right. When the piece is fin-ished; when the right decisions have been made.

Q How do you know when the time is right?
A Ah, yes; well I think, as an artist, you spend a lifetime answering this question! The piece must have a presence, it must be “good“; I know when this has been achieved. If I’m unsure about the piece then this is interesting, too; sometimes it takes a while to appreciate a piece’s qualities. Eventually I have to decide whether to put it out in the world; usually I am convinced of the piece by the time I get to this decision.

Q Ok, where do you find your material?
A In shops, on the road, at the beach, at the pub, at home, online, at the swimming pool, at the park, on the plane, on the bus, on the toilet, in the bush...

Q Are you always searching?
A “Searching“ isn’t always the right word. Sometimes I search; often, an object will just catch my eye.

Q It seems you start in reality, but what do you think: are your pieces still “real”?
A Real? Are my pieces still real? I start in reality... getting pretty philosophical here! So what do you mean “are your pieces still real“?Reeeeeeeaaaaaaaalllllllllll... I am real, you are real, it’s beautiful. My reality is real, and real is real, so get real... What a strange word, “REAL.“ perhaps you should spell it “REALL.“

Q In the workshop we have been thinking about how is it possible to transfer from reality into hyperreality.
A think think think... 

Q We have an easy question. How important is the wearability and the body for your work?
A Wearability is important, the pieces must relate to the body in some way. Then again, I have had phases where I step outside and make pieces that don’t relate to the body. What this has achieved is a confirmation that I am indeed a jeweller.

Q Yes, that’s how we see your work. But, if some of the pieces are not wearable anymore, how do you see their relevance? Do they exist through the photo?
A I allowed myself to step outside of wearability in the context that “these are objects too big to be jewellery.“ They become objects that are part of my jewellery practice. What then happened, interestingly, is that size became less of an issue. I have made some huge jewellery pieces recently.

Q Yes, we saw this big chain coming out of the museum... What do you think, it is possible to say that the bigger/non-wearable pieces are hyperreal?
A With this piece, the museum as a piece of jewellery is actually wearable. The museum is the object connected to a person by the chain, a huge brooch. So “hyperreal“ as in “a multitude of media that can radically shape and filter an original event or experience“ (I just cut and pasted that)? If I have understood correctly—no, I don’t think this piece is hyperreal; it is what it is.

Q In general, we have been discussing here that images becomes more important than reality (for example, in social media). What do you think about that? That also applies to jewellery. Images of jewellery, or the simulation of jewellery.
A I think it depends entirely on the piece, the photograph, what it is. I think a general statement then becomes difficult. I heard an artist’s talk recently where he mentioned the Fountain (urinal) from Duchamp - for him it wasn’t important to actually see the urinal, but just to know it existed (through photographs and information). But I very much disagree; I’ve seen Duchamp’s Fountain and it’s beautiful, where and how he’s signed his name, the urinal he’s chosen, this is simply visually a great object. It is important to see and experience a piece.

Q So for us this sounds that, in your opinion, it is impossible to transfer jewellery into hyperreality.
A I think if you want to transfer jewellery into hyperreality, you can; this can become your intention and your research.

Q Ok. In one of the previous interviews, it has been suggested that the reaction to hyperreality has strengthened the need for DIY culture. Can you agree with that?
A I think objects are retaining their importance in this mad digital social-media chaos. You probably heard of the Christchurch earthquakes here in New Zealand? Terrible tragedy. A colleague reopened her gallery in a temporary space a few weeks after the second major earthquake and was astonished to see huge numbers of people flocking to her first opening. To see and experience art is a powerful human instinct.

Schmuck2 Ok, we understand your point of view. We are finished. Thanks a lot for your time! It was really interesting! 

Photo: Lisa Walker and one of her pieces “Pussyriot Necklace”, 2013

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